Classes and Workshops

Renewable Energy Classes & Workshops

Interested in learning more about renewable energies? The Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (MRES) offers classes in solar hot water, PV design and installation, and small-scale wind design and installation. To be informed about these and other future renewable energy classes, please fill out our contact form and indicate which topics most interest you. We will send you information on the next available classes when they are scheduled.



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Renewable Energy Instructors and Schools

Renewable Energy Instructors and Schools

Below is a growing list of Instructors and Schools MRES works with that provide programs and classes for those interested in learning more about and developing knowledge and skills in renewable energy.

The Instructors listed here are Minnesota's participating Instructors in the  Midwest Solar Instructor Training Network (MSITN). The Minnesota Renewable Energy Society was the Minnesota State Partner in this network through the work of Managing Director, Laura Cina. MSITN has since changed their format and is no longer using State Partners to manage training. MRES is currently a Training Partner and sending instructors through training at MREA.

The MSITN Network is a group of technical and community colleges, non-profit organizations, universities, and industry partners who are working together to build solar training capacity in the Midwest.  Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a five-year effort and working in a seven state region that includes:  Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

The goal of the project is to accelerate market adoption of solar technologies by ensuring that high-quality installations are standard and to create sustainable jobs within the solar installation industry.



Todd Fink

Todd jumped into solar after a one-hour workshop on solar hot water given by Bob Ramlow at the MREA Energy Fair in 2006.  Since then, he has worked as a solar installer for Best Power, Intl., Energy Concepts, and IPS Solar.  Last year he helped Century College start a solar program focusing on site assessment and solar hot water installation.  Before solar, Todd was a remodeling contractor, science teacher and museum developer.



Century Solar Program

Starting in 2008 with funds from the US Department of Labor, Century College developed a Solar Program in cooperation with the Minnesota Energy Consortium and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU).  They have semester-long, lecture-based courses in Solar Site Assessment and Solar Thermal Installation and have lab courses in Solar Construction, Solar Thermal Installation and Solar Internship.  This fall, they are launching an Energy Auditing and Conservation course.  They have certificates in Solar Site Assessment (16-cr.) and Solar Installation and Maintenance (30-cr.) and offer a concentration in solar as part of the two-year Energy Technical Specialist degree offered by MnSCU.



Jason Edens

Jason is the founding Director of the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance.  Dedicated to solar energy accessibility for people of all income levels, the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance delivers solar heat and solar electricity to the residential and commercial market since 2000.  Unique among the nonprofit community, RREAL is a solar thermal OEM that pioneered the delivery of solar heat to low-income families on energy assistance as a lasting solution to fuel poverty.

With a history of environmental and social justice advocacy, Jason has a BS in Education from the University of Georgia, and MS in Environmental Studies Policy, and a contractor's license.   RREAL had its genesis in Jason's garage many years ago and has since evolved into a solar design-build and manufacturing firm.

As a former junior high and high school teacher, Jason has extensive teaching experience.  In addition to teaching at Central Lakes College, Jason has presented to thousands across the country about solar energy and the need for incorporating solar heat into the federal energy assistance and weatherization program.



Renewable-Sustainable Energy Training Program

Renewable-Sustainable Energy Center: The future of our natural resources will depend on new and renewable strategies for maintaining our world. The sessions in this series will build competencies for individuals to bring advanced skills of communication, HVAC, OSHA Safety Certification combined with new skills on alternative fuels, residential and commercial wind generators, solar panels for electric and hot water and geo thermal ground water heating and cooling systems. The competencies and certification for a residential energy auditor will also be available in this program.



Greg Skudlarek

Greg has been working in the HVACR field for the past 30 years. After spending 10 years in commercial refrigeration service and installation Greg started teaching HVACR full time at MCTC in 1989. Greg received a diploma in Welding in 1982 and a diploma in Appliance Repair and Refrigeration in 1984 from Alexandria Technical College and is currently working on a B.S. in Vocational & Industrial Education at the University of Minnesota. He is N.A.T.E. (North American Technical Excellence) certified in Heat Pumps, Gas Furnaces and Air Conditioning. He has also received instructor certification from HVAC Excellence in Heat Pumps, Commercial Refrigeration, and Central Air Conditioning. Greg’s areas of expertise are in Commercial Refrigeration, Heat Pumps, and Indoor Air Quality. He is currently receiving training to teach Thermal Solar Energy systems. Greg operates a residential HVAC business during the summer months.




Solar Energy Training at Minneapolis Community & Technical College

We are getting ready to open our Solar Energy training lab fall of 2010. We have purchased the following equipment for this lab: Hampden PV Solar Energy trainer, complete drain-back and pressurized thermal solar packages, 10 - 200 W ASE PV collectors, 2500 W Xantrex Inverter, 1.1 kW grid tie PV system, .3 kW off grid battery system, the PV systems will include a working roof system and a mock system inside the lab. The college has invested approximately $103,000 in this lab including remodeling and equipment installation costs.

We will be teaching a 2 credit (54 hour) Introduction to Solar Energy course which will cover thermal and PV solar energy systems starting fall semester 2010. This is a required course for the HVACR and Construction Electricity programs. Future plans include offering this course through our Continuing Education department to HVACR workers, Electricians and Plumbers currently working in these fields.

We are also considering offering a 16 credit Alternative Energy certificate to students who have completed an HVACR, Construction Electricity, Plumbing, or Construction program.



Jesse Dahl

I am a proud member of IBEW Local 292 and MSCF Hibbing chapter.   I started my working career as a member of Carpenters Local 606 of Virginia, MN.  While working as a carpenter, I enrolled at Hibbing Community College for electrical maintenance.  I graduated from HCC in 1999 and was hired by IBEW 292 in 2000.  After attending apprenticeship school and receiving my State Electrical License in 2005, I attended the solar program at local 292's JATC.

After completing solar training, I passed the (COK) entry level test, completed the required PV installs and passed the  North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Installers exam. I was lucky enough to install as an employee of Ion Renewable Technologies.  There I worked on systems that ranged in size from 2kW to 30kW, on pole mounts, residential and flat commercial roofs.  I would like to thank the IBEW Local 292 for the foresight to build a great solar lab, Bill Richmond and HCC for hiring me, and Daryl Thayer for teaching me.



The Program at Hibbing Community College

The NABCEP Entry Level class I teach at Hibbing Community College follows the guidelines set forth by NABCEP.  We cover all aspects of solar from site analysis to troubleshooting.  Safety is stressed and practiced at all times.  We utilize a 1kW bi-modal system, a 1.8kW grid tied system, a fixed tilt pole mount that is used with a centralized inverter and then switched to mirco-inverters for experience.  The students also work on carts that hold a small battery based systems.

We hope to team with the company to build a new solar module manufacturing plant in our area to promote solar in MN and the Midwest.  Plans are in the works to add a 2-axis tracker by the end of the 2011 school year. Hibbing community college, as part of MNSCU, is also offering a two year AAS degree in energy technical specialist (ETS).  The enphisis is on solar energy production (PV).



Steve Vietor

Steve has been working as an Electrician since 1975 primarily as a maintenance electrician. He was a facilities engineer from 1985 to 1986 and also worked electrical construction 1987 to 1989, then returned to Industrial Electrical Maintenance from 1989 to 1991. He has been teaching as an Electrical Instructor at Riverland Community College, Albert Lea since the Fall of 1991 till present.



Riverland Solar Program

The growth of the solar industry in the United States and in the Midwest has created a demand for solar installers.  With current government programs and stimulus funding for alternative energy management, the Solar Installer Certificate program will offer students a new career path within the Riverland Construction Electrician Programs.   This new option will give students a choice of training to be an entry-level Construction Electrician with a specialty in solar installation, site evaluation, and repair.  The Solar Installer Certificate is an extension of our current electrical program.  This program will benefit our current electrical students and also provide more training and a specialty for under employed electricians.  It will also make our current electrical students more marketable.



Mesabi Range College Wind Energy Technology Degree

Mesabi’s Wind Energy Technology Degree is an active AAS degree program with students currently enrolled who are learning to work with and troubleshoot actual utility-scale wind turbine equipment.  This two-year degree program benefits from:

  • Faculty and guest speakers with wind industry experience.
  • Learning opportunities throughout the year at Minnesota Power’s Taconite Ridge Wind Energy Center.
  • Utility scale wind turbine components (Clipper 2.5MW) donated by US manufacturer Clipper Windpower.
  • Learning opportunities at Clipper Windpower’s wind component factory in Iowa.
  • Industry leading curriculum, such as Condition Based Monitoring.
  • Industry leading software and equipment such as the OSIsoft PI System.
  • Mandatory wind industry internships, many leading to future employment.
  • A strong Advisory Team that includes a Utility, a Manufacturer, and a Large Scale Power Consumer.
  • Credit for prior learning for Military Veterans.

The college’s wind energy program is becoming a national leader due to key competencies not available at other schools, such as faculty and speakers with wind industry experience, student access to an operating wind energy facility as well as a manufacturing facility, actual wind components in the classroom, industry leading curriculum, and the school's convenient location in the center of the continent. Mesabi College began its Wind Energy Technology Degree program in September 2009, and will have interns and graduates available in May 2011. Visit their Facebook Page here!

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